Clean water for childeren in need – by not using your phone


UNICEF’s new Tap Project campaign is based around our mobile addiction. For every minute a person puts down his or her phone, the children’s charity will send the equivalent number of “fresh water days” to someone who really needs them.

Go to with your phone’s browser, and follow the instructions. The app works with the internal functions to calculate how long you go without moving the device. If you want, you can start the clock before you go to bed. It runs for a maximum of 24 hours.

“We thought, ‘What if we could create a parallel between how in our country some people can’t live without their phone, and how in the developing world kids can’t live without access to clean water?” says José Carbonell, a marketing manager at UNICEF. “We decided to gamify that and ask, ‘Would you be willing to sacrifice your phone as a way of experiencing that sense of sacrifice?’ though obviously on a smaller scale.'”

Four days in, phone-users have already given up 7 million minutes. Armani will be footing the bill in March (the project currently has other sponsors), and Carbonell says other sponsors will come on-board soon. UNICEF also raised the stakes to 10 minutes per day of clean water, so it doesn’t bankrupt anyone.

The money will go towards building and maintaining water wells, putting in water pipes to rivers, and buying purification technology. Worldwide, 768 million people still live without clean water, leading to a rash of related disease. Every day, 1,600 kids die from diarrheal diseases, 90% of which are thought to be because of poor water and sanitation.

Carbonell says,”One of the nice things about going mobile is that you can reach everyone. But this really gives us an opportunity to have a conversation with a younger demographic.”